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HomeMoviesBritish thriller 'Femme' explores revenge after a homophobic attack : NPR

British thriller ‘Femme’ explores revenge after a homophobic attack : NPR

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The sufferer of a gay-bashing encounters his attacker months later, and embarks on a harmful recreation within the revenge thriller Femme.



AILSA CHANG, HOST:

A British thriller from a pair of first time filmmakers is steeped in suspense about what is going to occur after an act of violence. Though its title is “Femme,” critic Bob Mondello says the movie is all about masculinity and energy.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Jules is backstage with mates at an east London membership, getting ready for his efficiency once we meet him.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Break a leg.

NATHAN STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) Oh, my God. I like that phrase after I’m carrying heels.

MONDELLO: As he hits the stage in a dramatic blue robe, the digital camera circles him, taking in his transformation.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As character) Aphrodite Banks.

MONDELLO: Shoulders sq., a fierce glamazon who’s all swagger and confidence, make-up, lengthy braids, nails a kind of armor. However exterior the membership, their impact is completely different, not a lot armour as a goal for bigots. So now a mini-skirted Jules is skittish in a comfort retailer when laddish louts enter.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) Hey. Hey. It is a bloke.

MONDELLO: One with neck tattoos who checked out him earlier exterior the membership now spits a slur.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

GEORGE MACKAY: (As Preston) [Expletive].

MONDELLO: And a few speck of Aphrodite in Jules taunts again.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) Takes one to know one, innit (ph)?

MACKAY: (As Preston) What?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Hey. What he say?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) He is an enormous man in his excessive heels.

MACKAY: (As Preston) Hey. Flip round and say that. Wait. Flip round.

MONDELLO: So Jules does.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

MACKAY: (As Preston) Caught you checking me out earlier.

MONDELLO: Jules struts away however, in heels, not rapidly sufficient. Neck tattoo man catches him exterior and beats him savagely, leaving Jules bare, bloody, traumatized to the purpose that, months later, he’s barely leaving his house. However when one in all his mates says…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

JOHN MCCREA: (As Toby) You are letting them win.

MONDELLO: …He realizes there’s some reality to that and heads out to what he thinks is a protected house, a homosexual sauna. And who’s there? Tattoo man, jumpy, nervous and clearly not recognizing Jules with out wig and make-up. When the man suggests a hookup…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

MACKAY: (As Preston) Come on, then (ph).

MONDELLO: …Jules follows him exterior and to his automotive.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

MACKAY: (As Preston) You bought a free place?

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) No.

MONDELLO: And a harmful recreation begins. Jules hatches a plan to even the rating together with his closeted tormentor, whose title, he learns, is Preston and who’s clearly doing a form of drag himself, hyper-masculine with these tattoos and sizzling mood. However as trysts with tough intercourse give option to dinner dates…

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

MACKAY: (As Preston) Can we get a wine listing?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #6: (As character) Yeah.

MACKAY: (As Preston) You hungry, yeah?

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) Yeah.

MACKAY: (As Preston) Can we get a Chateaubriand?

MONDELLO: …The dynamic between them turns into more durable to parse.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) I am simply making an attempt to work out what the vibe is right here.

MACKAY: (As Preston) What do you imply?

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) I am not imagining double dates with your folks anytime quickly.

MACKAY: (As Preston) You are humorous.

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) You retain this out of your life, fully separate.

MACKAY: (As Preston) I am a personal individual.

MONDELLO: What’s Jules as much as right here? Nathan Stewart-Jarett is taking part in him as without delay weak and decided. So is he stringing George MacKay’s Preston alongside for revenge or possibly softening in the direction of his weirdly charismatic attackers Stockholm syndrome-style? The solutions the filmmakers give you are extra complicated than you would possibly count on.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

STEWART-JARRETT: (As Jules) You bought a girlfriend?

MACKAY: (As Preston) Would you prefer it if I did?

MONDELLO: Author-directors Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping aren’t serious about queer victimhood in “Femme.” They and the actors who give life to those vibratingly conflicted characters are exploring rage, how some males socialize by aggression and the way intercourse may be each bit as a lot about energy as about pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, “FEMME”)

MACKAY: (As Preston) Come on, then.

MONDELLO: “Femme” evolves over its tense 99 minutes from a well acted revenge thriller to one thing simply as nerve-wracking and extra clearly true to life – a confrontation between two males who, responding to social pressures in very alternative ways, are performing who they’re. I am Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF ADAM JANOTA BZOWSKI’S “SAUNA REPRISE”)

Copyright © 2024 NPR. All rights reserved. Go to our web site phrases of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for additional data.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This textual content is probably not in its closing type and could also be up to date or revised sooner or later. Accuracy and availability might fluctuate. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio document.

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